This month, April 19-21, more than 400 chefs, cooks and other food-service professionals will descend on our city for the 2008 American Culinary Federation (ACF) Western regional conference being held at the City Center Hilton. The theme for this year’s conference is “Achieving Culinary Excellence: Cultivate, Innovate, Educate.” With more than 20,000 members nationwide, ACF is the go-to professional organization for culinarians in America and operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the U.S. If you’ve ever considered becoming a professional chef you might want to drop by the ACF conference. It is open to ACF members and nonmembers alike who would like to increase their knowledge of the food/restaurant industry. Some of the seminar topics include “Origins of Northwest Cuisine,” “Beauty and the Beef,” “Global Flavors and your Menu,” “Organics from Farm to Table,” and “Molecular Gastronomy.’ On Sunday, April 20, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform at the conference. For more information, go to ACFChefs.org.
The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, N.Y., has long been known as the country’s premier culinary college and produces celebrity chefs quicker than you can say Cat Cora. CIA alums includes Anthony Bourdain, Todd English, Roy Yamaguchi, Charlie Palmer, Sara Moulton and Grant Achatz, just to name a few. So given a cast of famous graduates like that, I was thunderstruck by the CIA’s choice of keynote speaker to deliver the 2008 commencement address last week: Dan Coudreaut. Now, the name probably doesn’t mean anything to you, and I’m sure he’s a good guy. But here’s his title: director of culinary innovation of McDonald’s USA. Chefs tend to be an irreverent bunch; I imagine there were more than just a few jeers at this year’s CIA commencement. I wonder if McSkillet burritos were served at the after-party?
Quote of the week: Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last. —Francois Minot
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